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article imageDethroned: Djokovic ends Nadal's reign at the Monte Carlo Masters

By Yukio Strachan     Apr 21, 2013 in Sports
Monaco - “I wanted that trophy badly all my life," said an emotional Novak Djokovic after he dethroned eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.
In losing to Djokovic 6-2, 7-6(1), it ended his 46-match winning streak at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters news reported. Nadal had been the only player to win a tournament eight times in a row.
“It is not a tragedy," Nadal said after the match.“Today, he was better than me.”
After closing the match, "Djokovic held his head in his hands and looked skyward before talking to himself for a few seconds. He dropped to the ground and planted a kiss," ESPN reported.
"I cannot be happier than I am in this moment knowing what I've been through the whole week, actually two weeks," said Djokovic, who twisted his ankle two weeks ago during the Davis Cup match playing for Serbia against the United States. "If somebody told me 10 days ago I'd be winning the trophy, I wouldn't think it's so realistic."
Djokovic had been beaten by 26-year-old Nadal in the 2009 and 2012 finals in Monte Carlo. Last year he lost in straight sets just days after the death of his grandfather.
He wasn't going to let such a thing happen again. “I'm not going out there to play my best; I'm going out there to win. That's how I'm going to feel tomorrow,” Djokovic said Saturday after dispatching Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 6-1. And it was so.
The unthinkable started to look possible
Sunday's final was delayed by almost 45 minutes due to rain, but when play finally got under way it was Djokovic who took charge, losing just 12 points in the first five games and then wrapping up the set when Nadal double-faulted, according to CNN.
ESPN said it was as a sign of things to come. Djokovic hit 14 winners to Nadal's seven in a first set and made almost half as many unforced errors:
After 25 minutes of brutally effective shot making by Djokovic the unthinkable started to look possible: Nadal could lose a set on clay 6-0. But Nadal dug deep, winning one point that spanned 27 shots and landing crucial serves.
Nadal held before moving ahead for the first time, breaking Djokovic and holding for 4-2. Then, after Djokovic had dropped his serve again in the 11th game, Nadal had a chance to even the match on his serve.
Instead, he crumbled. "By the time they reached the tie-break, the king's crown was wobbling," the Guardian said. Djokovic regained his dominance in baseline rallies, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters news reported.
After one hour 52 minutes, Djokovic ended what had become one of the most remarkable winning streaks in sport, sealing his first Monte Carlo Masters title with a booming forehand down the line.
"It's such a great pleasure to win here, it's very special," said Djokovic, who lives in Monte Carlo. "Rafa, thanks for allowing me to win here at least once."
“I wanted that trophy badly all my life, especially in the last six, seven years that I've been spending my time and living here between the tournaments in Monaco. This is a great confidence boost before the rest of the clay-court season.”
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